Heavy Tank M6A1

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Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

General info

M6A1 in the garage.

The Heavy Tank M6A1 is a Rank III American heavy tank with a battle rating of 4.7. It was one of the first American tanks to be released with the American ground tree in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals". A rather unusual tank design mounting two cannons in the turret, however it has superior frontal armour for the battle rating it occupies.

The main purpose, usage and tactics recommendations

General play style

M6A1 in the Jungle.

The M6A1 is at first a powerful machine with a 76mm gun able to penetrate the front of most Rank III tanks. Once, bought make sure to stay behind cover as much as possible as one good hit can knock out the 76 mm gun. Another note is that with all multi-gun tanks, the secondary gun should be fired separately to maximize efficiency of the shells. Since the tank is at Rank III, beware of IS-1s,Panthers, Tigers and Jumbos as they can all easily penetrate the weak frontal armour. Make sure to keep the rear safe as the M6A1's engine is very large for a heavy and is likely to set fire on first hit. The M6A1 is only as powerful as to how player uses it to its advantages.

Vehicle characteristics

The M6A1 is a one of the most unique tanks in the game, with it large hull and being as tall as a Tiger I. Another interesting feature is that it is one of the most maneuverable heavy tanks in the game with a powerful Wright G-200 engine with a max speed of 35 km/h, making it very mobile in a battle situation. The tank has two 12.7mm's in the hull which can be used but cannot be angled sideways. The M6A1 is one of the first tanks as well in the game to have the transmission at the rear of the tank.

Some thing to keep in mind is the shell arc of the secondary 37mm cannon. Its shell will usually hit the same spot on distances up to 1400m (~1 mile). But do not forget that the gun is offset to the left in close combat, or it will not hit the target.

Tactics

Try to always angle the armour, but not too much as the side armour is quite weak. A 15 degree angle is optimal. In close range, try not to expose the tank too much as the weak spots are very apparent, which nullifies the armour. Keep separate hotkeys for both guns as most of the time only the 76 mm will be effective. Keep the 37 mm for flanks against tank destroyers or light tanks that tries to sneak in a shot between 76 mm reloads.

Specific enemies worth noting

Any tank with a 88 mm gun, such as the Tiger heavy tanks (in a full uptier), as well as tanks with high velocity 75 mm guns, will be able to penetrate the frontal armour very easily. Avoid any direct confrontation with them, especially with the Panthers, which the 76 mm can't penetrate very easily from the front.

When fighting tanks the recommendations are:

  • Panthers: In a pinch, aim for the middle level of the gun mantlet, as well as the cheeks.
  • IS 1/2: Aim for the sides of the gun mantlet.
  • Centurion: Aim for the turret cheeks and below the gun.
  • ARL-44: Aim for turret mantlet and cheeks.

Don't be too scared by those recommendations, as those are the absolute worst case scenarios since they are one whole battle rating above the M6A1 and will be rare sights.

Counter-tactics

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Great main gun.
  • Very fast reload times, will fire twice with the 37 mm for every 76 mm shot.
  • Very good gun depression.
  • Good power-to-weight ratio.
  • Good acceleration.
  • Good climb abilities.
  • Secondary gun has the same shell arc as main gun.
  • Very good cross country performance due to large tracks.
  • Big hull increases chance of surviving after a penetrating hit.
  • Surprisingly still can fire both cannons with only skeleton crew.
  • Reload rate isn't generally affected when losing crew members.
  • Lower portion of the hull sides are protected by additional 25.4 mm armour sheet.
  • Can be independent from teammates, but works wonderfully when supported.
  • First heavy tank in the US tree that can dish and take punishment equally.
  • Rear mounted transmission.
  • Adequate roof armour.
  • Now has .50 cal AA machine gun.

Cons:

  • Slow top speed.
  • Mediocre turn speed.
  • Bad reverse speed.
  • Pretty large in general, will stand out in the battlefield.
  • Gun mantlet is weak.
  • Weak upper side armour with only ~40mm
  • Ammo is stored in the lower side armour!
  • Drivers and MG-port are frontal weak spots.
  • Large engine and transmission mounted in the rear.
  • Rear compartment of the vehicle is filled with fuel tanks that can easily set ablaze or explode altogether when shot.
  • Tank cannot be angled as it exposes the cheeks.
  • Has six crew members, but they are very close together.
  • 37 mm may be hard to aim for newer players.
  • Very long tank body, may be hard to find cover.

Specifications

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Arcade Realistic Simulator

Armaments

1 x 3-inch Gun M7 (75 rounds)
1 x 37 mm Gun M3 (202 rounds)
2 x 12.7 mm M2HB heavy machine gun (7,000 rounds)

Main Armament

1 x 3-inch Gun M7
  • Ammunition Capacity: 75 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 14.8°/s (Upgraded), 18.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 19.9°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 21.2°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 7.67s (Stock), 6.78s (Full Crew), 6.25s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 5.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 3-inch Gun M7
  • Ammunition Capacity: 75 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 12.6°/s (Upgraded), 15.3°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 16.92°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 18°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 7.67s (Stock), 6.78s (Full Crew), 6.25s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 5.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 3-inch Gun M7
  • Ammunition Capacity: 75 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 12.6°/s (Upgraded), 15.3°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 16.92°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 18°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
  • Reloading Rate: 7.67s (Stock), 6.78s (Full Crew), 6.25s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 5.9s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
M62 Shell 127 125 116 106 97 89 APCBC 792 7 1.2 20 63.7 +4° 48° 63° 71°
M42A1 Shell 7 7 7 7 7 7 HE 800 5.8 0.1 0.5 390 +0° 79° 80° 81°
M79 Shot 155 154 131 107 88 72 AP 792 6.8 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°

Secondary armament

1 x 37 mm Gun M3 (coaxial)
  • Ammunition Capacity: 202 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 14.8°/s (Upgraded), 18.0°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 19.9°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 21.2°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 37 mm Gun M3 (coaxial)
  • Ammunition Capacity: 202 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 12.6°/s (Upgraded), 15.3°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 16.92°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 18.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
1 x 37 mm Gun M3 (coaxial)
  • Ammunition Capacity: 202 Shells
  • Gun Depression: -10°
  • Gun Elevation: 30°
  • Turret Rotation Speed: 10.7°/s (Stock), 12.6°/s (Upgraded), 15.3°/s (Prior + Full Crew), 16.92°/s (Prior + Expert Qualif.), 18.0°/s (Prior + Ace Qualif.)
Ammunition
Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay in m: Fuse sensitivity in mm: Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30° from horizontal: Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
M74B1 90 89 69 50 37 27 AP 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A -1° 47° 60° 65°
M63 Shell 2 2 2 2 2 2 HE 807 0.73 0.1 0.5 38 +0° 79° 80° 81°
M51B1/B2 79 78 69 59 51 43 APC 883 0.87 N/A N/A N/A +4° 48° 63° 71°
Ammo racks
Ammo racks of the M6A1.
Shell
calibres
Full
ammo
1st
rack empty
2nd
rack empty
3rd
rack empty
4th
rack empty
5th
rack empty
Recommendations Visual
discrepancy
Main 76mm
Secondary 37mm
75
202
40 (+35)
161 (+41)
(+71)
121 (+81)
(+74)
81 
(+121)
--- 
41 (+161)
--- 
(+201)
Empty left:40 (+35)
Empty left:161 (+41)
Yes

Tertiary armaments

1 x 12.7 mm M2HB heavy machine gun (pintle-mount) 2 x 12.7 mm M2HB heavy machine gun (Bow gunner, dual-mounted)

Crew

  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader 1
  • Loader 2
  • Driver
  • Assistant Driver

Total: 6 Crew Member

Armour

Armour type:

  • Cast homogeneous armour (Front, Transmission area, Turret)
  • Rolled homogeneous armour (Front, Side, Rear, Roof)
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 82.5 mm (5-35°) Front
101.6 mm (5-35°) Transmission
44.4 mm 44.4 mm 25.4 mm
Turret 250 mm (6-65°) Turret front
50.8 + 50.8 mm (7-62°) Gun mantlet
82.5 mm (0-12°) 82.5 mm (0-68°) 25.4 mm
Armour Sides Roof
Cupola 82.5 mm 25.4 mm

Notes:

  • Suspension wheels are 15 mm thick while tracks are 17 mm thick.
  • Front armour is rounded so have variable slope angle along the surface.

Engine & mobility

Weight: 56.8 ton

Max Speed: 37 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 1033 hp @ 2900 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 18.19 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 1272 hp @ 2300 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 22.39 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 43°
Weight: 56.8 ton

Max Speed: 35 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 708 hp @ 2900 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 12.46 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 800 hp @ 2300 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 14.08 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°
Weight: 56.8 ton

Max Speed: 35 km/h
Stock

  • Engine Power: 708 hp @ 2900 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 12.46 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 40°

Upgraded

  • Engine Power: 800 hp @ 2300 rpm
  • Power-to-Weight Ratio: 14.08 hp/ton
  • Maximum Inclination: 41°

Modules and improvements

History of creation and combat usage

Development

When World War II broke out, limited development in United States meant that the military possessed very few tanks and so development hastened and eventually gave them tanks such as the M3 Lee and M4 Sherman. On May 20, 1940, the US Army Ordinance Corps began to work on a 50-ton heavy tank for their army. Initially, it was going to have a multi-turret design, two turrets with the 75 mm gun and one secondary turret with a 37 mm gun with a coaxial machine gun, then one more with a 20 mm gun with coaxial. Plus, four .30 cal machine guns were to be put on ball mounts on the front glacis and rear corners of the hull. This project was approved on June 11, 1940 and moved on as the Heavy Tank T1. However at the same time, similar concepts in Europe of heavy breakthrough tanks such as the Soviet T-35 and the German Neubaufahrzeug tanks were falling out of favour due to lack of combat effectiveness and unfavourable performance for their cost, and the US did the same in October so the design was changed.

The tank now had one turret with a 3-inch (76.2 mm, same one on the M10 tank destroyer) and a coaxial 37 mm gun. The turret housed three crew members and was powered by an electrical traverse system. The commander's cupola was copied from the M3 Lee, featuring a hatch with it sown machine gun. Two .50 cal machine guns now protruded from the bow mount (fired by bow gunner) and two .30 cal machine guns as well (fired by driver). The entire tank held six crew members, the commander, gunner, driver, assistant driver, loader #1, and loader #2. While the construction of the vehicle was feasible, the engine was not enough to power the vehicle reliably due to heavy 57 ton weight.

In 1941 to 1942, three prototypes were constructed with different transmission, one with electrical and the rest with a torque converter. The ones with the torque converters were designated the Heavy Tank M6 and M6A1. The electrical transmission design, designated M6A2, was never approved by Ordinance, but was to be manufactured anyway. It was hoped that 115 of these tanks could be built for further testing and production started in December 1942 with design changes. The commander's cupola now featured a regular hatch rather than the machine gun one, which was removed along with one of the machine gun in the front hull. By the time the M6 were ready for production, the Army were moving forward and interest waned on these heavy tanks with the M4 Sherman's performance in the war. The M6's armour was only slightly more thicker than the Sherman's and the 3-inch gun didn't offer too much improvement over the 75 mm gun, plus it had a large profile and low ergonomics, not to mention mechanical issues.

Production and cancellation

In early 1942, the M6 production was set for 250 a month, but was cut down in September from 5,000 to a mere 100 when manufacturing focus moved to planes. By the end of 1942, the Sherman's performance in the war proved its role in the war was more adaptable than the M6 heavy tank, while remaining cheaper and lighter for transportation and supplying. This caused the M6 production to lower even more to just 40, before being shut down. Though testing with a 90 mm gun found the M6 to be a good gun mount, the poor layout of the tank restricted it, and the project was shut down before further development could be made.

In August 1944, the Ordinance Corps planned to modify some of the M6 heavy tanks with more armour and heavier armament to breach fortified areas. These were to be the M6A2E1 and weighed 77 tons with a 190 mm front armour and a 105 mm gun. Eisenhower rejected these as impractical, and cancelled it. The M6 was found to be obsolete by December 1944 with only 40 units produced and never seeing combat service. They served as a propaganda piece during the war and were all scrapped after it except one, which is put on display at Aberdeen, Maryland at the United States Army Ordinance Museum. During development, the M6 turret was modified to become the turret for the M10 Tank Destroyer.

Screenshots and fan art

Skins and camouflages for the M6A1 from live.warthunder.com.

Additional information (links)

References


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us_m6a1.png

Icon-country-usa.png M6A1
Nation USA
Type Heavy tank
Rank 3
Battle Rating
4.7
4.7
4.7

   Metric✓       Imperial   

   Metric       Imperial✓   

Characteristics
Weight
56,800 kg
125,222 lb
Number of Crew 6
Hull armour thickness
101.6/69.8/41.4/25.4 mm
4.0/2.75/1.63/1.0 inches
Statistics
Engine power (stock)
1,033 hp
708 hp
708 hp
Engine power (upgraded)
1,272 hp
800 hp
800 hp
HP/ton ratio (stock)
18.19
18.48
12.46
12.66
12.46
12.66
HP/ton ratio (Upgraded)
22.39
22.75
14.08
14.31
14.08
14.31
Max speed
37 km/h
23.2 mph
35 km/h
21.8 mph
35 km/h
21.8 mph
Main Weapon
1 x 76 mm M7 Cannon
Ammo stowage 75 rounds
Vertical guidance -10°/30°
Secondary Weapon
1 x 37 mm M3 Cannon
Ammo stowage 202 rounds
Mount Coaxial
Tertiary Weapon
1 x 12.7 mm M2HB Heavy machine gun
Ammo stowage 1,000 rounds
Mount Pintle mount
Vertical guidance -10°/50°
Horizontal guidance -120°/120°
2 x 12.7 mm M2HB Heavy machine gun
Ammo stowage 6,000 rounds
Mount Hull mount
Vertical guidance -10°/35°
Horizontal guidance -15°/15°
Economy
Required RP 46,000 RP
Vehicle cost 170,000 SL
Crew training cost 49,000 SL
Max repair cost*
2,340 SL
2,080 SL
1,690 SL
Free repair time (Stock)
2d 08h
3d 12h
3d 04h
Free repair time (Upgraded)
18h 47m
1d 04h
1d 01h
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